With the evolution of procurement and the shift from a reactive, “three-bid-and-buy” scenario to more advanced means of sourcing, Category Management often is a concept best placed at the latter end of the spectrum. This makes sense because if you still quote products and services on an as-needed basis, you likely haven’t introduced the concept of collectively sourcing all spend within the category or subcategory. That reactionary approach may be the result of several things -- lack of support from the business, a misunderstanding of Procurement’s role, an inadequate process or workflow, or a combination of all of the above.
On the other side, many organizations have Category Management structures in place, or at least claim to. From my experience, an organization saying it has a framework for Category Management and an organization actually having such a framework are two very different things. More often than not, organizations will either employ a homegrown version of the methodology or leverage something that’s really not like Category Management at all.
Category Management can be approached differently based on several factors, including the industry you are in, whether you are service or product focused, what model of procurement you apply (centralized, decentralized, or center led), what drives the most spend in the organization and so on. As a result, I don’t think there is a strict rulebook on how to apply Category Management to your business.
While no two organizations will approach Category Management the same, these best practices should help any organization ensure their unique methodology is effective.
Jennifer Ulrich, Associate Director, Source One, a Corcentric Company
Shirley is a Vice President on the Business Process Services team with Everest Group. In this role, she advises senior stakeholders of global services including enterprises, service providers and investors in their strategic mandates and initiatives. She shares her take on the digital transformation – what companies need to do to stay relevant and the trends she’s seeing in the market and the industry. Shirley will share her expertise on this topic at the Midwestern Regional SIGnature Eventin March and the Eastern Regional SIGnature Event in September.
Your presentation at the Midwestern Regional SIGnature Event is about buying digital services for your enterprise--why is this such an important topic?
Digital transformation is impacting entire business value chains. Companies that do not have a plan to migrate from traditional models to focus on digitally led solutions will become irrelevant and obsolete. How organizations approach the building of their digital capabilities can result in real market differentiation, and a large part of that strategy depends on how they partner with global service providers and vendors.
The swift evolution of the digital landscape means procurement and sourcing teams must understand the implications of buying digital services so they can support their business and functional customers in obtaining the best outcomes from their digital strategies.
Innovation and transformation were dominant themes in the industry in 2018, so it only makes sense to move forward with those concepts in 2019. This month, SIG presents a new events format to help your team cultivate innovation and foster teamwork throughout 2019, enrollment is open for SIG University’s online certification programs and we have two new webinars that will help jumpstart your 2019 goals.
Save the Date for These 2019 Events
After feedback from the SIG Advisory Board, event attendees and our delegates, this year’s SIG events will follow a new format to give you and your team a fresh perspective and space to develop new strategies.
The most transformative change is the Regional SIGnature Events, which are one-day events for executives and their teams to network, swap ideas, engage in interactive discussions, participate in training workshops, and learn from industry analysts and experts who promote innovation and work to solve key challenges in the industry. Separate, concurrent roundtables for executive-level and delegate-level attendees will put you and your team in the company of peers from that region’s Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies.
Mark your calendar for these events that break the cycle of dry, traditional training and will get your team excited and engaged.
“It’s not just about cost savings--which was the traditional mindset of the Procurement function. It's about continually improving and re-evaluating how we’re buying to make sure we’re getting the best business outcomes.” - Neil Aronson, Head of Global Strategic Sourcing for Uber
Across all industries, margin and growth pressures are heating up. By 2021, 55 percent of technology procurement staff will require additional digital and analytical skills to enable their desired business outcomes (Gartner 2017). To succeed in this environment, CPOs must focus on closely aligning their team’s strategy and objectives with broader company goals. That requires changing the way their procurement and sourcing teams operate.
Changes of this nature call for a clear blueprint for transformation. And it starts with taking a closer look into current Procurement processes--and determining how success is being measured. A key insight: when organizations evolve alongside new technologies and market trends, so must the metrics needed to track performance.
Evolving Beyond Cost Savings to Accelerate Change
Historically, Procurement and Sourcing teams have been accountable for cost savings as the ultimate measure of success.
But as teams look to transform, they need to reshape their success metrics to chart a path forward. While anecdotal and periodic measurements are helpful, they are forgotten without a consistent stream of key performance indicators (KPIs) to indicate the overall direction of progress.
In fact, without clear, effective KPIs to back up these plans, securing executive support for transformation becomes unlikely. When executives understand how metrics and ongoing improvements directly align with the business, they’ll confidently support an initiative that delivers real value to the company.
Stan Garber, President and Co-Founder at Scout RFP
Shopping, buyers, shopping carts, savings, back office, JUST STOP DUMBING US DOWN!
As many of you know, my passion is to help elevate the sourcing industry to receive the attention, seat, respect (and yes, pay) that it deserves. So why do sourcing professionals keep self-sabotaging by using the term BUYER to describe ourselves? The only time this is a sexy title is perhaps if you are the buyer of fashion who attends runway shows and hobnobs with designers. Buying is what I do when I “shop,” like for groceries. We as sourcing professionals are NOT shopping.
So onto my next pet peeve, why do we have cute little icons that look like grocery carts to check out within our tools? Yes, it makes it seem like an easy process when pushing it out to our internal customers, but it connotes “shopping,” which, as we have just discussed, we are not doing. We are selecting items from a carefully sourced category after a lot of thoughtful processes have taken place. Why can’t we use an icon that better showcases the importance of this role?
Despite the disruptive winds of change brought by MoviePass, unexpected flops, and shifting release dates, the action in cinemas looked pretty familiar this summer.
Critics and audiences alike complain about Hollywood’s predictability, but studio heads and directors continue to rely on the same old tricks. Compare this to an inert talent manager in Procurement. Every day, these ‘directors’ are confronted with signs that their shopworn strategies need shaking up. The supply chain talent they manage to bring in-house is restless before the previews have ended. Soon, they’re making a break for the exits.
A simple reboot won’t cut it. Even in the era of digital transformation, people are still Procurement’s most valuable resource. To build the right team and reach Procurement’s potential, the function needs to fully remake its approach to casting and directing talent.
Ironically enough, this summer’s slate of retreads offers some valuable lessons in talent management. Grab a seat and check out what Hollywood’s biggest franchises can teach Procurement.
Look for Talent in Unexpected Places
One of this summer’s biggest disappointments, Ron Howard’s Solo is a case study in the law of diminishing returns. Even the promise of beloved Star Wars characters, it seems, can’t guarantee a hit. That doesn’t mean the film has nothing to offer talent managers.
The Global Executive Summit keynote speakers come from a wide range of industries to bring you well-rounded, insightful and unique perspectives on the issues and trends shaping the industry today. We are pleased to introduce our keynote speakers who will drive the conversations at #SIGFall18!
In this session, SIG CEO and President Dawn Tiura will put Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn on the hot seat for a grilling on the state of the sourcing industry. Rob has extensive experience running cross-functional teams and scaling companies from the early start-up phase into successful public companies. Got spend management questions? Now’s the time to ask them.
Do you ever wonder what your job will be like in 2020? Turns out you’re not the only one. Get the inside scoop from a panel of procurement executives on how to stay relevant when new technologies emerge on the scene.
Jon Kesman is the Head of Services Procurement with Allegis Global Solutions (AGS). With more than 20 years of procurement operations, sourcing and category management experience across various industries and global organizations, Jon is responsible for developing strategy, structure and operations for AGS’ procurement product. A self-proclaimed procurement geek, Jon shares what he’s learned over the course of his career, his definition of success and what excites him about the changes and development in procurement today.
Can you talk about your background and education--how did you get involved in procurement?
I actually have my degree in Purchasing and Operations Management from Michigan State University, so it’s all I’ve really known from a professional perspective. I guess I am officially a procurement geek! I started my career as a buyer at IBM. Then I moved on to procurement and sourcing consulting roles with Accenture where I was exposed to so many elements of value within this space, whether that was a full-on procurement transformation effort, or just some sourcing work to drive savings. I’ve spent over 20 years now in various procurement roles, almost evenly split between both the buy-side and the sell-side.
New technology, competitive drive and the desire to upend the status quo to influence innovation and enhance value are important characteristics for sourcing and procurement professionals in today’s world. As the digital transformation continues to accelerate at an unprecedented and exciting pace, SIG wants to recognize the change makers, movers and shakers who show innovation, leadership and transformation in areas critical to the sourcing industry.
This week, SIG announced the finalists for the inaugural Future of Sourcing Awards taking place at the Fall Global Executive Summit in Rancho Mirage, California, on October 17. A panel of 14 senior executives judged nominees in eight team categories and two individual categories. The teams and individuals listed below demonstrated ingenuity, initiative and innovation and showed the greatest achievements in terms of fundamentally changing the nature of their business and/or industry.
Please join us in congratulating the 2018 Future of Sourcing Awards finalists!
Kevin Nash is the Vice President Chief Procurement Officer at Health Care Services Corporation, a Blue Cross Blue Shield Company. As an experienced executive in procurement, sourcing and supply chain operations, Kevin manages over 100 people who oversee a wide range of functions from sourcing and contracting to regulatory requirements. Kevin shares his tips to keep a large team organized, his outlook on the growing role of procurement in organizations, and his advice for those looking to be better procurement professionals and team leaders.
Can you talk about your background and education--how did you get involved in procurement?
Like many procurement professionals, I stumbled upon procurement early in my career and found it to be an interesting and exciting area to work. After graduating with a degree in engineering, I started my career at GE supporting a manufacturing process. While in manufacturing, I began to focus on supply chain because we were experiencing frequent supply chain and inventory issues that were significantly impacting the ability to meet the production schedule. After finishing my MBA and leaving GE, I joined a consulting firm and continued to focus on supply chain with an emphasis on procurement. While in consulting, I transitioned from focusing on the supply chain for direct material to supply chain and procurement in service-orientated companies.